VIDEOS ON CFD MANPOWER PROBLEM
CANTON CITIZEN LEE COTE
COUNCILMAN EDMOND MACK
Q&A CFD OFFICIALS
COUNCILMAN GREG HAWK
Q&A CFD OFFICIALS
CFD DIVISION CHIEF
COUNCILMAN EDMOND MACK
REACTION TO CFD WORK SESSION
One of these days there is likely going to be a major, major, major catastrophe for some unsuspecting Canton family.
A 9-1-1 call will be made.
There is a fire station around the corner.
But—believe it or not—it is closed!
And consequently the response comes from across town some 8 minutes farther away than the "around the corner" station, and, guess what?
A loved one dies BECAUSE OF the delay!!!
It wasn't catastrophic, but Canton citizen activist Lee Cote last night described the recent occurrence of potentially disastrous delay situation during the Public Speaks portion of the Canton City Council meeting last night.
The SCPR thinks there continues to be and has been a whole lot of politiking going on in the context of Canton's safety director (Andrea Perry, since September, 2013 ), Canton's fire chief (Stephen Rich) and various members of Canton City Council finger pointing at one another in terms of: who is to blame?
As far as the SCPR can tell, the blame lies somewhere between the safety director and the fire department with the most likely culprit being the Healy administration in an endeavor to make it to the end of the year and in not adequately staffing the CFD keep Canton finances "in the black" for Fiscal Year 2015.
First there is this "internal" memo which it appears "inadvertently" showed up in Ward 1 councilman Greg Hawk's council mailbox.
Second there is this reaction from Ward 8 Councilman Edmond Mack at the October 5, 2015 meeting of Canton City Council: (extracted by the SCPR from the minutes of the meeting, here is a LINK to the entire discussion within the meeting minutes)
MEMBER MACK: [Mack recognized by President of Council Allen Schulman]
Yes, thank you, Mr. President.
As a Ward, City Councilperson, there’s several things that are unique about my Ward. Just like all of your Wards, that are very important to me and my constituents.
One of those things is the fire station that we have, located in the City of Canton, Northern Canton on Vernon and 47 , Station 10. I was very, very upset and frustrated when I saw the same email all of you received this Sunday from Chief Rich, dated October 1 that reads, in part
“The following plan will be put in place at the Canton Fire Department in the near future. The Engine Company from Station 10, located at 47 and Vernon Ave. NW, will be relocated to Station 4, which is located at 25 Street and Cleveland Ave. NW”.
Not knowing precisely what that means, fortunately on social media I saw a post from a President of a Neighborhood Association that reads, “The Fire Chief has decided to make some changes...”
And it continues, “Friends on the north end of town lost Station 10, sort of. The Station 10 building at 47 and Vernon NW will no longer be staffed.”
That I would learn that something like this was even being contemplated in a weekend memorandum and on social media is simply astounding.
How the Chief, or whomever, could make a decision like this without consulting the Councilperson, consulting the community...and working through the broader strategy...because when we talk about the importance of Station 10, certainly it’s important to Ward 8, but it’s also important in terms of our city’s overall strategy.
As we annex farther north, as we should be doing, that station is the station that services these new areas of annexation, or at least potentially can be.
This is very upsetting, to say the least, and Safety Director Perry, I’m hoping you can explain exactly what’s going on here.
Third, there is Safety Director Andrea Perry's response:
SAFETY DIRECTOR PERRY: Sure. Mr. President, to the Councilman.
First of all, thank you for asking that question and let me be very clear.
We’ve not changed our processes at this point, relative to ho fire stations are operating. They’re still in rotation that they’ve been in for some on for a period of time.
Let me first say this, what you saw on Facebook was some information that was shared that wasn’t for public information, just yet. Chief Rich is, with his management team, always looking at various ways in which to allocate and reallocate his resources within the department. So, let me firs say ... that what he and the Union set out to do.
They had a meeting, they sat down, they did some analysis relative to the decline, as well as the shift, thedeclining population, the shifts in the population.
They looked at other analysis as far as...you have the oil and gas industry that’s in, so you gotta take he railroad system into consideration. So, there are many factors that they took into consideration.
They had an internal meeting. They sat down and met with the Union, and their next step was, they would actually brought all of this to the Administration, which never got an opportunity to
happen because it was shared prior to the being able to happen.
Once that information would have been shared with the Administration, we would have come to this body, to Council, for your (Inaudible), you comments, and your approval, to then implement what changes we were considering.
At that point we would have gone to...once we talked to everybody in Council, everybody’s on the same page, at that point we would have went to the public.
[SCPR note: color change to emphasize Perry's commitment to consult with council before making any changes]
So, I apologize. None of that information should have been sent out or shared, but we are in the day of social media and that’s what transpired.
MEMBER MACK: Mr. President
PRESIDENT SCHULMAN: Member Mack.
MEMBER MACK: Then, just so it’s clear in my mind, and I’ll ask it very directly. Has a final decision been made to close Station 10?
SAFETY DIRECTOR PERRY: Mr. President. To Councilman Mack. There have been no decisions to close anything at this point.
MEMBER MACK: Then I thank you, Safety Director. I very much appreciate that response. What I would ask, as any discussions are going forward, in which a closure of Station 10 is even being considered, I would ask that I have an opportunity to be included and I think that is what you were contemplating. Just for purposes of the record, I certainly would want to have my views expressed on that.
SAFETY DIRECTOR PERRY: Mr. President. To Councilman Mack. That we would come to every member of this Council with relative to your various Wards and Community is (Inaudible).
MEMBER MACK: Thank you Safety Director and thank you Mr. President
In order for Canton to staff all stations, Chief Rich last night showed a slide in which it was shown that to get to the ideal 170 fire persons level, council would have to infused over $1 million in additional funding into CFD opersations
With 148 fire persons currently on staff, here are the response times:
Quite drop off from what the response times were back in 1996, to wit:
FOURTH, this video of the essence of the exchange between Mack and Fire Department officials last night at council's pre-regular-meeting work session;
FIFTH, this video which includes comments by Ward 1 Councilman Greg Hawk who is chair of Canton council's finance committee.
SIXTH, this video which includes Division Chief Akbar BenneNtt's description of the coming need to expand the scope of CPD operations and the attendant need to add personnel,
SEVENTH, this video which contains the comments on the work session by Chief Rich and Division Chief Akbar Bennett,
- Note: Bennett casts the problem of CFD coverage in terms of council support
EIGHTH, this SCPR video interview with Councilman Mack at the conclusion of last night's council meeting.
The SCPR commends Councilman Mack for his persistence in getting definitive answers from the administration and the CFD leadership.
Such is critical to Cantonians in terms of their personal safety and the safety of the loved ones.
For if this staffing problem is not solved and solved soon, it is only a matter of time that as headline such as this hits area media:
FAMILY OF CANTON MAN BELIEVES HE DIED BECAUSE CANTON'S ROTATING SYSTEM OF OPENING/CLOSING FIRE STATIONS DELAYED HIS GETTING TIMELY 9-1-1 EMERGENCY SERVICES
Mack and other councilpersons are doing all they can do to prevent the materialization of such a headline.
Is the CFD leadership?
Is the Healy administration?